The Union hockey team is losing an important offensive cog in its lineup.
Center Josh Jooris signed the NHL's Calgary Flames, the team announced Tuesday.
Jooris, who had 29 goals and 59 assists in 117 career games, is giving up his senior year. He gets a two-year, two-way entry-level deal — $832,500 (NHL)/ $70,000 (AHL) per year — and a signing bonus of $92,500 in each year for a total value of $925,000.
He recently participated in the Flames' prospect camp.
"I think it caught a lot of people off guard, including myself," Jooris said. "Going into this summer, I wasn't expecting anything out of this camp. Never in my dreams did I think that I would be getting this opportunity to play.
"When you go into a development camp, you want to show that you can play, and you want to show your stuff. They liked the way I played. They liked what I brought on and off the ice, and they said they were going to offer me a contract."
Flames general manager Jay Featser is pleased to have Jooris with the organization.
"Josh is a right shot center with size and skill,” Feaster said in a statement. "During our recent development camp, he played an aggressive, up-tempo style and displayed good grit and a high compete level. Our staff felt strongly that we should attempt to get him signed, and we are pleased to welcome him to the organization. He will play for us in Penticton [at a rookie tournament hosted by the Vancouver Canucks], and then will be given an opportunity to compete for a spot at main camp."
Union coach Rick Bennett was informed late Monday night of Jooris' decision.
"I think the shocked and stunned has been used a lot recently, especially in college hockey," Bennett said. "In this day in the National Hockey League [with] signings and everything that's been going on with college hockey and their collective bargaining agreement, I'm not shocked on stunned at all that Josh has signed."
However, the timing of Jooris' signing didn't please Bennett.
"I don't think it's the best timing in the world when you lose one of your top centers this late in the game," Bennett said. "But he's going to fulfill his dreams of signing a National Hockey League deal. That's what he and his family wanted, and that's what they got."
Jooris is the second player this year, and fourth in the last three years, to leave Union early. In April, junior goalie Troy Grosenick signed with the San Jose Sharks. Center Jeremy Welsh gave up his senior season when he signed with the Carolina Hurricanes after Union lost to Ferris State in the 2012 Frozen Four semifinals. Sophomore goalie Keith Kinkaid signed with the New Jersey Devils after the 2010-11 season.
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